Overall I felt the Unit 9 Exhibition was a success, I worked well with my space and all the students worked well together to create Vanguard, especially considering none of us had any experience putting together this kind of event. As most of us students left Unit 9 quite late to complete it was very stressful towards the last few days, the exhibition definitely suffered as a result as people were focused on their own topic instead of Vanguard as a whole, we could have definitely been more organised with deadlines and job roles. My job role was the chairman. I gathered everyone for meetings, lead the meetings, wrote meeting notes, answered and resolved any queries, made sure everyone else was up to date and perusing their roles correctly, wrote promotional emails over-viewing the exhibition, resolved any last minute mess ups and made sure everything/everyone was properly in place for the exhibition. My job was a big role but I felt I fulfilled the duty well, I liked checking that everything was correct and felt a sense of purpose when other students came to me with any queries. In Unit 10 if I am chosen to be chairman again I will definitely be much stricter and tighter with deadlines as I felt the exhibition got pushed back because students didn’t keep up/focused on their own work a lot more. The descriptions of artist’s work were also extremely rushed, as most people forgot about them they were likewise pushed back to the last day, I also didn’t want to add to the stress with being overly strict with them so I was quite lenient but I will make sure next time the descriptions and most exhibition things are done long before the last day – this includes programmes and larger posters being printed, comments book being made and food labels being made. I also feel job roles weren’t given to the correct people and some students had too much to do. As this was our trial run for Unit 10 I knew there would have been some errors and the job role choosing was quite difficult as none of us knew the difficulties of some of the roles, but some people didn’t stick to their roles which made other people who already had many tasks have more. But for Unit 10 we will change/alter some of the job roles and create more balanced tasks. The invitations also weren’t send out till a few days before/on the day of the exhibition. A couple of people had to ask what the overview of Vanguard is and the timings/dates, so for Unit 10 I will make sure all invitations are send out a couple of weeks before the final night. As for my own final piece I feel I have done exceptionally well. Exhibition spaces were given on a first come first serve basis and as I knew I wanted to produce an installation I reserved the space under the stairs first. This gave me the opportunity and time to measure and plan my space, as well as think of the best piece I could produce with the space I had. My final piece ended my project perfectly and fit into the space impeccably, it really felt like a little sex shop. As my piece was very provocative I needed to age restrict it to 16+ (which the head teacher reviewed and thought was an appropriate age too), so I hung a solid black curtain around the piece so no young saw ‘DIRT LUST’ without adult permission. The curtain needed to be there but it became a bit awkward and hard to move around; I wanted people to go in and interact with the piece but as the large curtain was placed there, there wasn’t much room inside the installation to move. I felt this also put people off taking their time to properly look at everything and watch the advert I created, for Unit 10 if I explore a provoking subject and create that type of art again I will plan the covering better. My final piece also created a lot of health and safety risks. Even though I knew all of the risks and planned around them I left the solution process quite late (the curtain assembling, the wires, the light being left on for two hours, etc.), so next time I will assess earlier. In conclusion I feel the Unit 9 exhibition was a major success. The errors we have together and personally evaluated and will change for the final Unit 10 exhibition, but the final night resulted a lot more successful than I originally thought.
“This filthily classy sex shop is run by prostitutes; originally a lingerie shop, Dirt Lust began to go bust so the owners had to sell a wider range of products to appeal to customers. Our employees also use the back room for their sex work so sex related items appeal to clients too. Dirt Lust is a hot haven for hair lovers which glorifies the natural female body. The room is filled with neon beauty and stimulating toys including Dirt Lust’s own branded underwear tailored to other prostitutes. Our workers are very messy so be careful entering through the curtains, don’t get too close you might leave feeling sticky.”
As my main final piece will be the instillation I wanted to plan my space and create mock ups of DIRT LUST to physically see my ideas.
I took inspiration from Ed and Nancy Kienholz’s instillation piece ‘Hoerengracht’, a grotty Red Light District whore house with slutty, melting mannequins waiting for customers. I know I want to create a dark, run down lingerie/sex shop filled with neon lights, used condoms and excessive amounts of hair but from looking at this instillation piece I have gained a few ideas to make DIRT LUST look more like a used brothel. I originally didn’t think about wallpaper or a backdrop, but from looking at the rooms in Hoerengracht I want to get a flowery wallpaper and paint over the top, I want DIRT LUST’s walls to be dripping. I also didn’t consider including a mannequin but I feel in Hoerengracht they’re an essential part of the instillation and feel it can give DIRT LUST a surveillance feel – I originally wanted the audience to feel uncomfortable like they shouldn’t be in my instillation but a mannequin staring at you as you walk in will emphasize this feeling. A mannequin will also be a perfect way to display some of the Instagram comments underwear.
As I need a storage item to include in DIRT LUST to put some underwear in I ordered a plain black chest of drawers, this will further make my instillation feel like a realistic shop. I was indecisive between black or white drawers, but felt black would darken the room further and compliment the red/purple toned wallpaper. As I would be returning the drawers I also felt white drawers would get ruined too easily.
I want a professional-like photograph of Maisie May signed on the wall of DIRT LUST so I further edited the Red Light District photographs from a previous series. Throughout the instillation I want to give the impression that Maisie May Fletcher is a well-known model/prostitute that represents DIRT LUST, so used text and shapes to make the photos appear like promotional posters. I also like the way I have separated the letters, when you quickly skim over it it looks like it says ‘DIRT SLUT’ which adds a further filthy prostitution vibe. I edited the colours to looks more neon and Miami styled, I love that sexy, playful look and feels the text emphasises this.
I am going to choose the last image as the final poster. The composition of the photograph is much nicer and the close up of the body makes the hair more obvious.
A mock up of what DIRT LUST will look like. The actual instillation will include a lot more detail; I will scatter underwear around, put an ash tray with used cigarette ends in, hide used condoms with fake cum in and sprinkle body/public hair around. But I am extremely happy with what my final piece will look like, this is the exact image I had of what I wanted DIRT LUST to look like.
As I am going to produce two final pieces (the video as well as the instillation), the DIRT LUST advert is going to need some planning too. I know I want the overall vibe of the video to be dirty but sexy, a contrast between Maisie May as a prostitute and Maisie May as a model. I am going to shoot in two locations: an abandoned area and a white studio backdrop, exaggerating the contrasting cold and warm tones between locations when shots are switched.
I want the advert to display a collection of signature DIRT LUST underwear which will be on ‘sale’ in the drawers in the instillation piece. I ordered a few pieces of underwear to be included from Boux Avenue, choosing red/black lacey garments as I want to tailor to the ‘customers’ of this shop who are also sex workers – I felt the underwear I have chosen are what posh prostitutes would wear.
Before I shot the video I wanted to find a song that would play in the background of the advert. I wanted to choose the song before so I could think of movements and camera shots that would match with it. I like to edit my videos to the beat of the music, and as the model being filmed I wanted to play the song as we’re shooting so I could move to the beat too.
I listed many songs from contrasting genres that I thought would emphasize the imagery and sexy vibe, and one by one whittled them down. I felt out of all of them the songs that sounded classical and had a slow, deep beat matched best so I was left with three: Earned It – The Weekend, Fever – Peggy Lee and I Put a Spell on You – Annie Lennox. I asked other people’s opinions on the three choices and majority picked I Put a Spell on You by Annie Lennox. I also agreed and felt the lyrics and female voice worked best.
To get inspiration for the advert I created a Pinterest board, this helped gather my ideas and give me a clearer picture of the type of look I wanted for myself and the type of camera shots I wanted. I developed on the prostitute concept to give Maisie May a dirty but classy look. I had an image of her in a big fur coat with skimpy lace underwear and very high platformed heels, her hair scraggly and heavy black eye makeup with fake lashes. I also wanted her face to be defined to give a skinny, drug addict look with a cigarette commonly in her hand. I chose to act snoppy and confident but also careless to give Maisie May an ‘I know I look sexy and I’m better than everyone’ vibe.
For research I choose to look at Victoria Secret adverts, this helped massively whilst editing the videos and gave me a few ideas for camera shots. In most of them the video would start off slow and luxurious (including many clip fade effects), but build on speed and sexiness as the advert continued – the ending just before the title was also very fast pasted, the song beat becoming harder and shorter clips appearing. The brand title generally appears at the end, the letters expanding towards the audience. In the ‘Night of a Thousand Fantasies’ advert after the title appeared at the end a short clip of one of the models appeared locking eyes with the audience, I liked this element as it gave a last impression and pulled in the audience a little further so I decided to include something similar in DIRT LUST’s advert.
First few exhibition meeting notes; we started planning the exhibition quite early which I feel helped greatly, even though we left a lot of the exhibition planning to the last week this gave us the opportunity to gather our thoughts earlier and gave each student room to continue their personal project too.
We firstly wrote out job titles and put each student into the catogory of one of those jobs. We then moved onto names and themes for the exhibition posters and programmes.
As we were unsure on colours/backgrounds for the running theme we set a few dislikes that weren’t going to get included (photograph as it’s difficult to find a photo which sums us all and our art up and the colour green), then everyone who wanted to make an initial poster design went and designed one/multiple.
As a group we then flicked through all of the designs to say elements we like/dislike, to then choose a few we like which would get merged together. Freya’s (1st and 2nd on the left), and Josh’s (3rd in the middle) were the favourites as we like Freya’s first font, block pastel colours and the repetitiveness of Vanguard, and we liked Josh’s use of geometry and cubes. They both then sat together to create further developments and finally the final exhibition poster.
The programme then followed; we wanted to have the final poster created first so we could use the same format and theme for the programmes. We all looked at last years programmes to gain some inspiration and give us an idea of the pages to include, then we noted elements we liked/disliked and the order of pages that was going to be included. Abbie Copland then used our feedback and formed a programme which got developed further into our final programme. We decided not to include collage pages of student’s work or students working as they looked unprofessional and unnecessary, we also don’t take pictures of us creating our work. We did decide to include a group photo of us all to highlight how Vanguard is a group of artists.
Continuing the fine art experimentation I decided to look into Yves Klein. I love his blue prints of women’s bodies and feel it represents the physical female form extremely well. As most people see thin women as being the definition of modern idealistic beauty, I decided to use my own petite frame to create ‘idealistic’ body prints. Instead of printing on the paper by pressing against a wall I decided to lay on the floor to receive a clearer appearance of my body shape without the gaps Klein’s has. I experimented with four different colours: black, red, pink, and warm toned. I tried to heat map one print as I couldn’t think of a forth colour related to sex/femininity and felt heat mapping revealed the boobs and vagina as being the hottest part of the body. I also included black hair on the vagina and nipples to emphasise the glorification of body hair, I love the contrast between the sensual colours and the matted hair. This contrasts accentuates the continuing concept of glorifying female body hair.
As I noticed my art was taking a hugely digital and lens based route I decided to step away from the photoshoot and Maisie May exploration. To get back into the fine art practice I took my life drawings from the recent session we had and stuck hair onto the figure writing phrases in monoprint. I wrote offensive and dirty slang phrases linked to a hairy female in black and red ink. I felt the red not only added colour to the black and white drawings but linked back to the Red Light District and created a naughty feel. These pieces feel a lot more me with the alarmingly challenging appearance and highly in your face style, forcing a contrast between the gorgeous, natural female body and the bleak words and font.